Occurrence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and unidentified organofluorine in leachate from waste-to-energy stockpile - A case study

By Björklund, Sofie, Eva Weidemann, Leo W. Yeung, and Stina Jansson
April 6, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.130380

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a diverse group of chemicals used in consumer products, which will inevitably end up in waste streams. Landfills are widely recognized secondary point sources of PFASs, but other types of waste management sites have received less attention. Therefore, in a case study presented here we investigated releases of PFASs from temporarily stored waste by determining quantities of 34 PFASs in leachate from a Waste-to-Energy stockpile (45 000 ± 2000 tonnes) during five months in 2019. We also measured extractable organofluorine (EOF) to account for PFASs not included in the target list. The mean total concentration of the 34 PFAS (Σ34PFAS) was 211 ± 31 ng/L, and short-chain (C4–C7) perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) accounted for 56–60% of the total. Moreover, we found that Σ34PFAS only accounted for 12% ± 4% of EOF detected in the leachate. Our results demonstrate that waste stockpiles are previously unexplored sources of PFASs in the environment, and the dominance of short-chain PFCAs is consistent with observed profiles of contaminants in landfill leachates.


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